Business Other News 04 Apr 2016 Railways passing thr ...

Railways passing through tough time, but plans to overcome it: Suresh Prabhu

PTI | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Apr 4, 2016, 6:40 pm IST
Updated Apr 4, 2016, 6:40 pm IST
 Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. (Photo: DC/File)
  Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. (Photo: DC/File)

New Delhi: Indian Railway is passing through a tough time but the ministry has drawn up a comprehensive strategy to pull it out of this situation and make the public transporter financially viable, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on April 4 said.

"Railways is passing through a difficult time. It is a challenging time. But, at the same time, we have to keep on doing expansion and upgrade in the Railways," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said. He was speaking at an event at the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) here.

Prabhu said, the ministry is hoping to come out with a long-term plan soon, adding, "we have drawn up a comprehensive strategy to come out of this situation. We are working on a comprehensive plan to make railway finacially viable. The idea is to make railways better."

"To begin with, we are working out for non-tariff operation to increase earnings which was never done before. Besides, we have also increased the capital expenditure substantially," he said. Railways have undertaken plans to earn substantial revenue through commercial uitilisation of surplus land and advertisement.

"We are preparing 2030 plan, It will be a vision for the future." Highlighting some of the changes taking place in the ministry, he said "Earlier Railway ministers were busy in announcing new trains, halts in the budget. For the last two years we have discontinued that practice. Now tenders or works contracts are not seen by me."

Referring to the partnership with state governments, other countries and private players, he said, "16 states have agreed to partner with Railways in executing rail projects in their states. Many countries have come forward for technological cooperation, besides private players showing interest in projects."

 He said private players will have opportunities in the redevelopment of stations across the country. Railways have offered 400 major stations across the country for redevelopment with private participation. He said railways has also forged partnerships with NGOs and self-help groups.

Prabhu said many organisations like Axis Bank and Nomura have given positive reports about the railways, saying "we will move forward. So we are sure railway will emerge stronger." Highlighting the importance of customer service, Prabhu said, "We will come out with a long-term corporate plan soon and there will be a general manager for customer service."

Asked about the corporatisation plan, Prabhu said one has to be particular about the nomenclature. "If you say labour reforms then it will be a problem. But if you say employment generation scheme, then it is different.

So, change in nomenclature is required. Same objective will be achieved with the change in nomenclature. "So outcome is important not the process. If the outcome is good without much complications, we do need to find out that." He said many reform-oriented steps hav been taken in the railways in the recent past.

"Tendering process is now on e-platform. We are also changing Railway Board structure for bringing efficiency. Now railway recruitment examinations are also online." Prabhu, however, said though changes are good for railways these "cannot take place overnight".

On tie-up with Japan for the high-speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, he said, "It is in the interest of the country and economy. It will change the entire ecosystem in the country. We will have Japanese technology as well as funds. Japan is giving soft loan."

It is not only high-speed rail, he said, Japan has agreed for helping in modernisation and research work also. Now our RDSO (Reserach Designs and Standards Organisation) will be completely revamped."

On the facility for differently-abled passengers, he said, railway is aware of the issue and will do its best to provide all support. "Railway has full support of the Prime Minister and the entire government. I hope industry will also support financially to move ahead," he said.

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Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi




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